Garnet Valley Basketball: District 1 Playoffs

By: Jeremy Park

Garnet Valley hoops had two successful regular-seasons for the 2021-2022 season, leading both boys and girls teams to the District 1 Playoffs. 

Boys game One:

Upper Dublin – After two wins against top-10 teams in District 1 (Haverford & Conestoga) and lots of helpful math, a scrappy Jags squad snuck into the 24th and final playoff seed. An away matchup against 9th-seeded Upper Dublin didn’t favor Garnet Valley, and it didn’t look good for the Jags after the first three quarters. Despite being down by 18, Garnet Valley stormed back. 18 points became eleven, eleven became five, five became three, three became seven, seven became 11, 11 turned back to five, and all of a sudden, the Jags were up 44-43. Ryan Faccenda earned a trip to the free-throw line to make it a 3-point lead. Upper Dublin’s DJ Cerisier sank a dagger three-pointer on the other end to tie things up once again with 10 seconds left. With no timeouts remaining, GV’s Max Koehler took the inbound, sped to the other end of the court, gave it up to Faccenda who put up a layup that bounced off the right side of the rim, where Logan McKee tipped an and-1 putback layup with less than a second left to put the Jags up by two. Although the free throw missed, 0.7 seconds wasn’t enough time for the Cardinals to gather and take a game-winning shot. 

Girls game One:

Hatboro-Horsham – One might think a 19 seed vs a 14 seed would be a relatively close game. The 14 seed thought otherwise. Although 4 different double-digit scorers (55 total points) helped on the offensive side, a handful of steals from Carly DiSabatino and Ava Possenti completely disrupted any offensive plan that the Hatters had planned. Defense won the game for the Jags to move on to the next round. 

Boys game Two:

Spring-Ford – After the previous 18-point comeback, many thought the Jags to be lucky to still have a season. A 16-point Spring-Ford lead in the fourth quarter seemingly had the game locked up. Facing enormous pressure, Coach Mike Brown and company pulled yet another miraculous fourth-quarter double-digit comeback to win and advance to the next round of Districts and a guaranteed spot in states. Junior point guard Max Koehler had 13 points in the 4th quarter leading to his 20 total, including the go-ahead free throws with 18 seconds left. After a half-court heave that fell short, the Jags celebrated yet another upset win, 53-50. 

Max Koehler rises up for a midrange jumper

Girls game Two:

Methacton – 3-seeded Methacton posed as the Jags’ first challenge in Districts. A 10-9 Warriors lead and a total of nine turnovers after the first quarter put both teams’ elite offenses on hold. A 24-17 Warriors halftime lead and 21 total turnovers saw Methacton gain momentum and a comfortable lead. A 10-0 3rd quarter run from the Jags gave Garnet Valley a 30-26 lead going into the fourth. Methacton brought the score to 37-36 with just over a minute left, but two steals from Ava Possenti in the final 30 seconds sealed the upset win for the Jags. 

Boys game Three:

Methacton – The #1 seeded Warriors were the biggest challenge the Jags were going to face for the entire tournament. The last seed didn’t back down. 4 hard-fought quarters led to a 38-38 tie leading to overtime. The upset was inches away from being completed but Methacton prevailed 46-41 in OT. 

Girls game Three:

Spring-Ford – GV, back in Spring-Ford’s gym, took a 20-12 halftime lead but a crushing barrage of 3s and a suffocating defensive effort from the Rams in the second half led to a 40-30 win for Spring-Ford.

Haylie Adamski drives towards the basket against Spring-Ford

Boys game Four:

Bensalem – The 4th ranked Owls stood tall as yet another high-seeded team that the Jags had to play. Garnet Valley toppled them right off the bat, jumping out to a 37-9 lead at halftime. For the first time in these playoffs, GV’s reserves got playing time, senior Nate Dada hitting a mid-ranger to end the game 72-40. 

Girls game Four:

Perkiomen Valley – A lead going into halftime broke in the last two quarters as Perk. Valley won 50-42.

Boys game Five:

Plymouth Whitemarsh – The 22-seeded Colonials were the lowest seed that the Jags played for Districts. A hard-fought battle between both teams for four quarters led up to a Ryan Wootten 3 to send the Jags to their second overtime game in Districts. PM’s sophomore forward Qudire Bennett scored 24 points to lead his team to a 55-51 victory in overtime. Jake Sniras and Ryan Wootten both knocked in three 3s for 13 points each. 

Ryan Wootten shoots the game-tying three-pointer for overtime

Girls game Five:

Haverford – The fourth matchup between the two teams this entire season, the Fords revenged a Central League playoff game loss with a 44-23 victory. A 26-3 halftime deficit was too deep of a hole to climb out of, but a second half surge starting with the first 13 points brought the Jags closer to the game. Haylie Adamski (ankle) was kept out of the game due to injury. 

Both Garnet Valley teams against all odds shocked the District with their runs, the 24th seeded boys placing 6th overall with a state bid, and the 14th seeded girls placing 8th, also with a state bid. 

Coach Joe Woods and his team move on to play Northampton on Tuesday in the first round of states.

Coach Mike Brown and company make the trip to West Philadelphia to play Abraham Lincoln, who are down two starters (Rashan Locke-Hicks and Aymere Thomas) due to transfer rules. 

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